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Program and Event Summaries

Right-Sized: Equipment and Controls for Super-Efficient Building Systems
Lunch ‘N Learn Presented by Allen & Shariff Engineering, LLC

On a beautiful May day, Allen & Shariff Engineering, LLC, the well-respected engineering, construction, and construction management services firm with offices in Maryland, Pennsylvania, and the United Arab Emirates, presented the topic “Right-Sized: Equipment and Controls for Super-Efficient Building Systems” at a CREW Lunch and Learn.  Attendees received miniature tape-and-level pieces as you never know when you might need them.

Mechanical, electrical, and plumbing design and engineering require a comprehensive understanding of the client’s needs so that innovative solutions can be created and sustained.

We thank Paul J. Messineo Jr., P.E. who is the Business Development Manager and his colleague Christopher Drummond,P.E., LEED AP BD+C who is a Senior Mechanical Engineer, for sharing their project stories where they overcame site obstacles with careful planning and innovative MEP design and engineering to overcome objectives of the owners.

Allen & Shariff Engineering, LLC provides Mechanical, Electrical, Plumbing, Fire Protection, Technology, and Energy engineering design services.

 

Saving For College? Consider 529 Plans
Leslie Craven, CFP, Presented a CREW Lunch n’ Learn on College Planning for Women in Business

If you have young children, and you’re wondering when is the best time to start saving for college, the answer is: Now.

College costs are high. The current average cost for tuition, fees, room and board at a four-year private college is $40,917 per year, according to the College Board. For a four-year out-of-state public school, the corresponding cost is $31,701 annually.*

These numbers can be daunting. But if you start saving early, you will be in a better position to meet college costs. One of the best savings vehicles available is a Section 529 College Savings Plan (named after the portion of the IRS code that authorizes these accounts).

  • You May Realize Significant Tax Benefits — In a 529 College Savings Plan, your contributions to the plan can be withdrawn tax-free (federal) if the proceeds are used for qualified higher education expenses.** Many states also offer taxpayers a tax incentive to use in-state plans.
  • You Can Contribute Very Large Amounts — You can contribute up to $70,000 per beneficiary to a 529 Plan ($140,000 for married individuals filing jointly) in the first year of a five-year period without incurring any federal gift-tax consequences, provided you do not make any additional gifts to the same beneficiary in the same five-year period***. Contribution limits can vary by state.
  • You Get Estate Planning Benefits***— When you move money into a 529 Plan, you’re moving it out of your taxable estate. Yet, as the account owner, you still retain control of the funds. That’s an estate-planning benefit not available through many other vehicles.
  • You Control Withdrawals — As long as you are the account owner of the 529 Plan, you control all withdrawals for the life of the account. You can even change beneficiaries, if you choose.
  • You Have Flexibility — You can transfer to another 529 Plan or change investment options without changing the beneficiary. Both options are limited to one transfer in a 12-month period.
  • 529 Plans offer important benefits. Consider putting a 529 Plan to work for you and your family.
  • Call your RBC Wealth Management® financial advisor today for more information.

How do I pay for a 529 plan? Like mutual funds, 529 Plans may charge a sales fee. In addition, you may pay an annual fee for participating in the plan. You will also pay administrative and management fees that are deducted directly from plan assets much like the expense ratio of a mutual fund. Consult the plan documents for a more comprehensive explanation of the fees.

Leslie A Craven, CFP®RBC Wealth Management
Associate Vice President - Financial Advisor
One PPG Place, Suite 2900
Pittsburgh, PA 15222
Office: 412-201-7212
leslie.craven@rbc.com

 

Panel Discussion and Networking Reception Held at Point Park University

CREW Pittsburgh’s Community Action Committee and Point Park University held a panel discussion and networking reception on campus in November 2014. 

The University’s Career Development Center along with the business management and accounting, economics and finance and information technology departments collaborated with Commercial Real Estate Women Pittsburgh to host the event.

“Networking with the members of CREW was a great way for students and alumni to not only get information about the commercial real estate industry but also to make connections with professionals who can give them career advice and guidance on working in this industry,” explained Angela Scaramucci, coordinator of employer relations for the Career Development Center.

In addition to discussion on career opportunities in commercial real estate, the CREW panelists addressed topics such as the life cycle of real estate, challenges they face on the job, the importance of new graduates having a mentor and how to prepare for a career in this field.

“I decided to come to the event because I have been interested in real estate for some time now and wanted to take this opportunity to network with successful people in this area of business. I received a lot of useful insight,” said Tara Yanossy, an accounting major.

“I learned that real estate is not just about buying and selling a property. There are many concentrations you can choose to focus your career on in this industry,” added Yanossy.

M.B.A. student Elizabeth Lang has some experience in real estate and decided to come to the event so she could hear perspectives from women professionals in the field.

“I was intrigued by their discussions on environmental studies in commercial real estate as well as appraisals,” remarked Lang.

For Carlene Morgan, a global cultural studies major, this event allowed her to learn about new possible career paths.

“Point Park gives students a lot of opportunities to listen to professionals from different job fields. It was interesting to learn about all of the career opportunities in the industry of real estate,” said Morgan.

 

CREW/NAIOP 6th Annual Sporting Clays Shoot

The CREW/NAIOP Sporting Clays event just gets bigger each year!  This year there were over 115 shooters in the main event and 8 individuals who took advantage of the New Shooter lesson.  This translated into 30 squads spread out over the 17 station course.  Last year’s shoot boasted 92 shooters in the main event and 8 individuals for the lesson.

Held on Friday, June 27th, this event is quickly evolving into a signature event for both the CREW Pittsburgh and NAIOP Pittsburgh Chapters.  They began collaborating on the sporting clays event five  years ago.  Prior to that CREW Pittsburgh put on the event themselves.  But bringing the networking power of the two groups together has really seen the event grow and prosper.

Winners this year were:   High Overall Individual – John Zang (98); Class A – Don Lampus, Sr. (92);  Class B – Chris McCartney (74); Class C – Charlie Krushansky (64); and Class D –Sandy Cikovic (50).  Our High Team Score was 339 and the winning team was led by Randy Grossman, Wealth Management Strategies.  Congratulations to all the winners and a special congratulations to all the folks who took the New Shooter Lesson.  By the end of 2 hours, everyone was hitting targets including the one shooter who arrived that morning with swollen eyes from an allergic reaction!

Thank you to Tony Bucciero (Level II NSCA Instructor) who volunteered to help with the New Shooter lesson.  Many thanks to the staff at Seven Springs.  Their support, professionalism and attention to detail are what help make this event so special. 

A special thank you to all our sponsors!

  • Ammunition Sponsors -  Allen & Shariff; Metz Lewis Brodman Must O’Keefe; Collier International
  • Breakfast Sponsors -  Reed Smith; Tall Timber Group; A. Martini & Co.
  • Lunch Sponsors -  Integra Realty Resources and First American Title
  • Top Team Award – donated by Elite Shotguns
  • Cart Sponsors – Agency Assist Outsource Solutions LLC; Grandbridge Real Estate Capital, LLC; Gateway; Moody and Associate, Inc.
  • Station Sponsors – Enterprise Bank; Ballymoney Real Estate Services; CBRE; Cohen & Grigsby; Continental Building Systems; DRS Architects; Eisaman Contract Associates Inc.; Grandbridge Real Estate Capital, LLC; Guardian Construction Management Services Inc.;  Integra Realty Resources; Johnson Controls; S & T Bank; Sampson Morris Group.

Congratulations to the committee (Megan Jones, Christi Neroni, Maureen Ford, Bob Dezort, Jeff Walentosky, and Carl Belli) for another successful event.  We look forward to seeing everyone again next year!

 

CREW Annual Wine Event

It was another amazing wine event at the Rivers Casino on October 23, 2014.  The Monongahela/Ohio rooms at the River Casino showcased Pittsburgh’s skyline as more than one hundred members and guests network while sipping wines carefully paired with each course.  The wine dinner was moderated by wine expert Reid Vogel of Capital Wine & Spirits and food was prepared by Chef Michael Shimek.  Each wine was specially chosen to compliment hors d’oeurves and a four course meal which included a main entrée choice of coffee crusted New York strip, citrus brine pork chop or, a vegetarian option, falafel waffle.   The wines included Barton and Guestier sparkling wine with hor dourves, Edna Valley Sauvignon Blanc with salad and Angeline Pinot Nior and Shooting Star Syrah with the main course. 

This year’s guests walked away with a CREW Pittsburgh wine glass (large enough to hold almost a full bottle of wine) and casino credit.  Thank you to Terri Sokoloff, of The Specialty Group, her committee and the wine event sponsors. 

 

Overview of Fifth Annual Commercial Real Estate Financial Update Luncheon

On August 26, 2014, a group of 75 CREW members and non-members assembled at the Engineer’s Society of Western Pennsylvania for CREW’s “Fifth Annual Commercial Real Estate Financial Update” lunch program. The panel of invited speakers, made up of commercial real estate finance leaders, provided an overview of different layers of the commercial real estate capital stack including: tax credit, permanent debt and equity financial markets.  Panelists included Rob Spicher from PNC Tax Credit Capital, Tyler Noland from PenTrust Real Estate Advisory Services, and Paul Schuler from Bancorp, Inc.  The moderator was Dan Puntil from Grandbridge Real Estate Capital.

The panelists discussed many commercial and multi-family development projects in the region.  The speakers cited current lending trends for commercial and multi-family properties, in addition to the use of various tax credit programs as part of the capital stack.  The speakers provided attendees with detail related to the much-needed Low Income Housing Tax Credit, New Market Tax Credit and Historic Tax Credit programs, equity options and permanent debt options.  A question and answer period followed the program.

Lunch sponsors included Meyer, Unkovic & Scott; Tall Timber Group; Integra Realty Resources; and BNY Mellon Wealth Management.
 

Program Luncheon: LEED Certified Buildings Under Development

Attendance was outstanding for CREW Pittsburgh’s March 25th panel discussion on LEED certified buildings under development in Pittsburgh.  Panel speakers included Lucas Piatt from Millcraft Investments highlighting The Gardens project at Market Square, John Robinson from PNC Realty Services highlighting PNC Tower, downtown, and Todd Reidbord from Walnut Capital highlighting Bakery Square 2.0 in East Liberty.  The discussion was moderated by CREW Pittsburgh’s own Kathryn Jolley from DRS Architects. 

The discussion kicked off with the panel speakers highlighting the challenges and successes in utilizing green building practices in current projects under construction.  PNC faced challenges in implementing geothermal heating and cooling in PNC Tower and ultimately, due to conditions of the aquifer under the site, concluded that it was not feasible.  However, John Robinson described PNC’s success in incorporating a skylight that naturally preheats airflow coming in to the building which will reduce heating costs.  Lucas Piatt lists several challenges faced at The Gardens project in Market Square including challenges in utilizing New Markets Tax Credits, multi-tier financing structure, location of the site situated between multiple old buildings and LEED certification not favorable for hotel projects.  Millcraft was successful in overcoming these challenges as is evident as Millcraft breaks ground on The Garden’s project which is planned to have LEED silver certification with potential for LEED gold.  Todd Reibold overcame challenges associated with public-private partnerships and obtaining TIF approval from the school district. He also successfully secured Google Inc. for an additional 200,000 sq. ft. lease at Bakery Square 2.0 making Google’s presence in Pittsburgh of comparable size to its centers in San Francisco and Boston. 

The panel was in agreement that the new LEED 4.0 regulations, slated to come out soon, will be an improvement over the current regulations.  John is pleased that LEED 4.0 will provide more rigorous processes in measurements and verification of energy savings and regulations on use of materials.  Lucas is pleased that LEED 4.0 will open up the program to other uses, including hotel uses and Todd is looking forward to more “regional friendly” regulations focusing on areas relevant to a projects location. 

With 44,000 buildings in the US and 2 billion sq. ft. of space being LEED certified, the U.S. ranks no. 1 beating Canada and China, as second and third respectively.   The panel unanimously agreed that LEED certification has become a must for “Class A” office space which is further supported by the fact that 2 million sq. ft. of space is being LEED certified each day.

 

Paint Monkey

On June 3 Paint Monkey of Lawrenceville was the host and guide to a wonderful opportunity to play like a child and still behave like adults.  An experienced and encouraging artist took us through the steps of creating our own masterpiece of the city of Pittsburgh’s skyline.  A good time was had by all—and we have paintings to prove it

 

February Luncheon Program: Professional Development via Social Media

CREW Pittsburgh’s February lunch program covered the topic of boosting your networking effectiveness using LinkedIn, featuring Sheryl Johnson from BD-PRo Marketing Solutions.
Sheryl emphasized that networking on LinkedIn can be a waste of time because most people don’t know how to effectively manage their time and engage with their connections in a meaningful way. LinkedIn is a great networking tool to expand your professional network and build meaningful relationships, if done strategically. A LinkedIn strategy can complement your current marketing efforts and result in very lucrative business development and job opportunities.

This program covered how to be successful using LinkedIn with the following guidelines:

  • Manage your time & information. Sheryl explained that to avoid getting sucked into wasting time on social media, you should make it a habit to stay focused and target your efforts. Set the clock for 10 minutes to ensure you stay on task.
  • Improve your profile. Sheryl stressed the importance of making the best possible virtual impression with your profile. Most importantly, add a picture if you don’t have one already. People like to connect with “real” people and having a picture personalizes your social media interactions. Other ways to improve your profile include revising your headline to compel people to contact you, updating your status regularly so you maintain an active presence on LinkedIn and reviewing your profile information so your details are current and relevant.
  • Capture Information – Sheryl shared that LinkedIn is also powerful source of news and information and can be used to keep a pulse on your industry and know what your competitors are up to. Use your news feed to stay current and gain customer insights. If you only have a few minutes, then read headlines and pick 2-3 articles to skim.
  • Engage Your Contacts - Your connections may not be able to see your facial expressions when you network virtually, but they know if you are interested and engaged with them. Ways to “nod your head” online and show that you are attentive include reading statuses and “liking” and/or commenting on them.  You can also participate in group discussions, post an interesting article or send a personal note to someone in your network.

For a complete 6 step process to market yourself more effectively using powerful networking strategies, go to www.networkprotoolkit.com\big for a BIG 50% CREW discount on the Network PRo Toolkit. Get instant access today for only $24.99.

 

Annual Golf Outing

The 11th Annual CREW Pittsburgh Golf Outing was held at Montour Heights Country Club in Coraopolis PA on Monday, May 5th.  Since the outing fell on the Cinco de Mayo holiday, attendees enjoyed free margaritas and lime-flavored beer on the course.  The winning team with a score of 58 was the First Commonwealth foursome put together by Bryan Pukylo.
 
This year’s sponsors included First American Title NCS, NAIOP, IRR Pittsburgh, Reed Smith, Meyer Unkovic & Scott, Tall Timber Group, Colliers International, CBRE, The Huber Group, Millcraft, and A-Air Company.  Thanks to everyone who attended.  Also a big thank you to the CREW Pittsburgh Events Committee and all volunteers whose tireless hard work and planning made this day possible.

 

Bags, Belinis and Brunch

Satchels of Caring Foundation is happy to have presented another successful Bags, Bellinis & Brunch event that succeeded in raising just over $30,000 in support of the mission to bring comfort to cancer patients.

On Sunday, April 6th, 271 guests were in attendance to bid, brunch and buy while enjoying the company of other volunteers, donors and supporters.  The mood is always festive and fun while the dollars fly and the raffle tickets pile higher in their containers until the big final drawing for prizes that concluded with the grand prize of a Kindle eReader.  To view photographs from this year’s event, visit Flickr at the following link: https://www.flickr.com/photos/satchelsofcaring/sets/72157644221633566/.

Despite the fun, the message of cancer patients and their much needed support is always central in the presentation given by President Heather Knuth, which this year featured stories from several local distributors who described the impact they have personally witnessed that the satchels have on a patient’s recovery. A special thank you to Mary Rae of West Penn Hospital, Helen Pomilio of Jefferson Regional Hospital, and Janis Finn & Marina Posvar of Hillman Cancer Center for sharing their stories.

A huge thanks to CREW Pittsburgh for Premiere Level Sponsorship of this year’s event, in addition to Dollar Bank and Eckert Seamans.  A grand total of 20 sponsors supported this year’s BB&B in dollar amounts ranging from $100 to $1,000.

Total satchels distributed to date, since the foundation’s inception in 2003, is 8,764.  The potential to break the 10,000 mark is a very real possibility in 2014.  If you’re not already on the mailing list to receive the monthly “Stitches in Time” newsletter, send a request to admin@satchelsofcaring.org.

Come and see us for a volunteer session in our new downtown headquarters at The Lawyers Building located on Forbes Avenue, diagonally from Macy’s.  Public sessions are listed on our website at www.satchelsofcaring.org, and private sessions can be scheduled for groups by emailing admin@satchelsofcaring.org.

 

 

The Impact of Marcellus Shale on the Commercial Real Estate Industry

The impact of Marcellus Shale on our local Commercial Real Estate Industry has been profound and will continue to grow into the short- and long-term future. Those are the inescapable conclusions drawn by panel members, Matthew Virgin, SIOR, Principal, Langholz Wilson Ellis, Inc., Greg Quatchak, P.E. Founding Principal and Strategic Business Development Officer, Civil & Environmental Consultants, Inc., Krista-Ann Staley, Associate, Public Sector Services and Energy & Natural Resources Groups, Babst Calland, David J. Spigelmyer, President of the Marcellus Shale Coalition, and Matthew Moses, Shareholder in the Business Services Group and Vice Chairman of Babst Calland’s multi-disciplinary Energy and Natural Resources Group.

Mr. Spigelmyer started the discussion by presenting a summary of the recent history of Marcellus Shale in the region reminding us that the natural gas industry began in Pennsylvania in the 1800’s.

There are 300 member firms in the Marcellus Shale Coalition that represent the entire life cycle of natural gas from its exploration and discovery through production and distribution including midstream product makers and suppliers to all these industries.

In our recent past, there were 4,000 wells drilled a year in our region and output has tripled which means the game really has been changed by Marcellus Shale. The USA can now see energy independence in its future for generations to come which can influence our foreign policy as well as change the population makeup in the area we call home.

Gas exploration means companies take huge risks to discover where the natural resources lie so production and output can pay off the investors and add predictability to the investment equation.

It costs about $7 per mile to drill a well with an additional $30 - $35 required to develop a new well site. Spigelmyer estimated that approximately 272,000 jobs related to natural gas will be generated with an average salary of $84,400 compared to the typical average PA salary of $35,600.

Plastic manufacturers will return to this area because the ethane cracker will make it a lucrative business again by being located close to the source and having more than one distribution channel (roads, rail, and river.)

The uncertainty about regulations is one of the major impediments to full scale exploration and production. To have the PA court strike down Act 13’s statewide regulations in favor of municipal control increases the risk that drilling companies must take and that can dampen their enthusiasm and their investment capital. 

Lots of money is going into rural PA areas that generally do not participate in the state’s General Fund funding.  And that will change the character of these rural areas in almost every way – from having enough housing and infrastructure to be home to a more diverse population that lives outside metropolitan Pittsburgh. 

Matthew Virgin of Langholz Wilson Ellis talked about how this “temporary” work force – those who are in the gas exploration and construction niches – will continue to impact the region’s temporary space needs.  There are lots of pick-up trucks in the parking lots of long-term hotels these days. And there is construction for new hotels in areas that are not traditionally thought of as having hotel traffic.

Housing development is going strong, for example, in Robinson Township for the “temporary” workers who will eventually transition into permanent residents. 

Also seeing an exponential increase is the race for industrial space - how fast it can be constructed and be ready to move-in?  If our inventory is not plentiful enough, we will begin to lose economic opportunities because we do not have the infrastructure in place to take advantage of them. So all commercial real estate market segments are seeing demand that can outstrip the current supply.

We’ve already seen how fast Southpointe in Washington County has filled up and there is a trickle-up effect from Southpointe to the Parkway West.  Developers have put millions of dollars on the line in PA betting that the folks moving into the area for the construction jobs will stay here once the construction is completed.

Greg Quatchak of Civil & Environmental Consultants spoke about the engineering aspects of the Marcellus Shale industry.  What external factors can influence the future of natural gas in our region? Natural gas prices moving higher will stimulate drilling and production just as we saw a decline in natural gas prices dampen new well drilling for a few years.

There are environmental issues to consider – fracking has its opponents as well as its advocates. Economic development does not have to come at the expense of our environment. Community residents need to become an educated public so they understand what the facts are and get involved in their community’s issues.

Krista-Ann Staley of Babst Calland described the information gap between what communities know and what they and their citizens need to know before making informed decisions about municipal oversight in their community.  This goes beyond the initial well drilling as the other types of manufacturing get started in the areas surrounding the wells.

Citizens should know about the secondary and tertiary benefits of this industry being here in addition to its risks and they also need to analyze ordinances where regulatory obstacles are involved.

She asked us to think about what should replace Act 13 since negotiating with each municipality is a lot to ask of the companies coming here to take a risk. How do we start up the process that striking down Act 13 stopped?

Matthew Moses, also from Babst Calland, began to address some of the layers of complication that attorneys and other professionals need to think about.  For example, in which market segments does the firm want to operate?  For example, an attorney may not want to take land owner clients because they already have existing relationships with drilling companies.

Questions from the audience were answered and that brought the discussion to its conclusion.

 

January 15, 2014
Holiday Party

CREW Pittsburgh members got a real treat on January 15 at Lidia’s Pittsburgh for the 2014 Holiday Party.  The well-known Italian restaurant in the middle of the Strip District was warm and comfy as we shrugged off the cold and enjoyed each other’s company in a private room upstairs.

Sipping some wine got the smiles started from the moment we arrived to enjoying that first course which is Lidia’s signature salad – Insalata Cesare.  Then we had our choice of three pasta dishes or grilled salmon.  Tasting the three types of pasta was an exercise in what was good, better, and best – orcchietee with broccoli rabe and sausage; tagliatelli with arrabiata and kalamata olives; and mushroom ravioli with thyme butter.  And the tiramisu for dessert melted in my mouth.

Our new officers began their year-long service – Christina Bucciero as President; Sarah Reigle as President-Elect; Maureen Jordan as Past-President; Angela Gillot as Secretary; Autumn Harris as Programming Director; Sunny Lezark as Events Director; and Eileen Iorio as Community Action Director. Three directors are continuing their service for 2014 - Meagan Moore as Membership Director; Mimi Fersch as Sponsorship Director; Kaylyn Boca as Communications Director. Marcia Grimes continues as our general counsel and Michele Allerton as Treasurer.

Our special takehome treat was from a secret location in Pittsburgh. Thanks to Christina for finding this gem! Nancy’s B’s bakes amazing gourmet chocolate chip and other cookies straight from a little house in Homestead.

If anyone is interested in ordering in advance or learning more about her bakery, please visit http://www.nancybsbakery.com. A good time was had by all. We look forward to seeing you at next year’s party.

 

November 21, 2013
Annual Wine Dinner

CREW Pittsburgh members and their guests comprised the 110 diners who attended CREW Pittsburgh’s Annual Wine Dinner at the Rivers Casino on November 21, 2013.  Dinner was in the Monongahela/Ohio Rooms with Pittsburgh’s dramatic skyline as the backdrop to the networking and dinner event.

Terri Sokoloff of Specialty Group introduced Sommelier Jeffrey Dietz, General Manager of Andrew’s Steak and Seafood at the Rivers Casino. He introduced the wines that were paired with the plated dinner by Chef Michael Shimek.

2010 Geyser Peak Winery Chardonnay was served during the Welcome Hour along with Chicken Satay with Spicy Peanut Sauce, Vegetarian Spring Rolls with Plum Sauce, and Bacon-Wrapped Scallops.  This chardonnay has “flavors of guava, pineapple and pear mixed with creamy yeast and roasted nut notes­”­­­.

A 2011 William Hill Chardonnay with its “notes of baked apple supported by layers of caramel, brown spice and toasted oak flavors” was paired with an unusual salad presentation.  Not a mixed salad, each ingredient was showcased on the plate – baby beet salad, Frisee, Pickled Shallots, Ricotta Salata, Walnut Cream, Caraway, and Lemon Vinaigrette.

The Herb-Crusted Lamb Chop entrée was served with 2012 Angeline Pinot Nior accompanied by a White Bean Ragu, Swiss Chard, and Red Wine Poached Carrot Lamb Jus. The wine showed “perfumed aromas of rose petal, cranberry, raspberry and spices.”

The last course was a Composed Cheese plate served with 2011 Louis Martini Cabernet Sauvignon.  The wine’s “flavors of black plum jam and ripe loganberries” complimented the Goat Cheese Mousse, Bell Pepper Crumble, Burnt Miso Caramel, and Sorrel.

In addition to the wine and dinner, a casino credit was given to each attendee.  We thank our sponsors for their contributions to this enjoyable and tasty event.

 

November 7, 2013
Panel Presentation at Chatham University

On November 7, 2013, CREW Pittsburgh joined Chatham University and offered a panel presentation to young women to introduce them to the various careers within the commercial real estate industry.  The Event included a luncheon and a panel of CREW Pittsburgh members from a range of disciplines who described their contributions to a fictitious development project. Linda Fisher, Assistant Vice President, Dollar Bank, served as moderator of the program and was joined on the panel by Martha Graham, Director, Brokerage Services, Massaro Properties LLC; Michelle Allerton, Associate Director, Integra Realty Resources; Kris Volpatti, VP Commercial Real Estate, First Niagara; Heather Knuth, Principal, Integrity Design; and Eve Bursic, Director of Operations, CBRE. 

The event was attended by 27 Chatham University students and alumni and 6 Chatham employees (2 faculty and 4 staff).  The attendees completed 22 evaluations of the program and on a scale of 1 to 5, the Program was rated a 5 from the majority of the attendees in the areas of Accessibility, Set Up, Location, Time, Educational Value, Content, and Career Prep Skills. 

This year the Community Action Committee is planning a similar event at another college and a pilot mentoring program with Chatham University.  Contact Eileen Iorio eiorio@eckertseamans.com if you would like to join the 2014 Community Action Committee. Thank you to CREW’s Community Action Committee in pulling together this successful event as one of CREW Pittsburgh’s first community outreach programs. 

 

October 2013
Luncheon: Personal and Business Succession Planning

CREW Pittsburgh’s October lunch program covered the topic of Personal and Business Succession Planning.  The program featured a panel of speakers comprised of Erin Farabaugh, Senior Attorney with Houston Harbaugh, Larissa Murphy, CPA with Markovitz Dugan & Associates, Carly Neals, Senior Trust Officer with First Commonwealth Advisors, and Chris Brown, Vice President with Huntington Insurance.  CREW member Jeanine Fallon, Senior Vice President, Market Executive of First Commonwealth Bank, moderated the panel discussion.

The speakers provided insight into the many aspects of succession planning and offered many topics for attendees to consider, both from the perspective of the business owner planning his or her exit strategy, and from the perspective of the successor.  A recurring theme of the presentation was the idea that “if you fail to plan, you plan to fail”, and panelists gave several anecdotes that demonstrated the effects of poor succession planning.

The panelists noted that no succession plan can really be prepared or implemented until a business owner is truly ready and willing to do so.  Since the process of creating such a plan can be overwhelming, the panelists recommended that business owners surround themselves with trusted advisors – including legal, tax, insurance, and wealth management advisors.  Not only can those advisors help create and ultimately implement the plan, but they can be consulted from time to time to update the plan – such updates may be needed if there are changes to the individual circumstances of the business owner or his or her successor, or if there are changes in tax laws and/or available insurance products that would impact an existing succession plan.

In addition, the panelists emphasized the importance of communicating the succession plan and of actually implementing the plan when triggers for the transition occur, since it can be difficult for a business owner to “let go” when it comes time to implement a transition.  Ultimately, the most effective succession plans should incorporate an exit strategy that reflects the owner’s goals and objectives and addresses any concerns the owner may have about the continuation of the business.

CREW Pittsburgh thanks Erin, Larissa, Carly, Chris, and Jeanine for an interesting and informative lunch program!

 

September 26, 2013
Property Tour

CREW Pittsburgh hosted its annual Property Tour on Thursday, September 26, 2013.  The tour featured residential and commercial spaces in the downtown area. The tour started with a luncheon and panel discussion at the Wyndham Grand Pittsburgh Downtown hotel. Jeremy Waldrup President and CEO of the Pittsburgh Downtown Partnership opened the discussion with information about new and exciting opportunities coming to the city. Jeremy handed things over to the moderator Jeff Burd, publisher of Breaking Ground, who introduced the panel Guhan Venkatu, Vice President and Senior Regional Officer from Pittsburgh Branch of the Federal Reserve Bank of Cleveland, Jessica Smith Perry, manager of Housing Development Programs at the Urban Redevelopment Authority, and Jeremy Kronman Executive Vice President from CBRE. The panel discussed new projects going on in the City and the positive effects they are having on the industry. After lunch the group proceeded to the buses to begin the Property Tour.  The following properties were a part of the tour:

  • Southside Works – a mixed use development with available space for lease by Grant Street Associates, owned by American Eagle
  • Penn Avenue – PMC Properties’ new residential units on Penn Ave by the Cultural District
  • The Cork Factory Lofts/Lot 24 – residential units in the Strip District owned by Chicago based developer McCaffery Interest, Inc.
  • Dollar Bank on 4th Ave, with the recently restored lions sitting outfront opened the Heritage Center which holds memorabilia from when the branch first opened
  • EQT Plaza – a downtown office building owned by Highwoods Properties and leased by CBRE included an open office space, fitness center, and meeting rooms

Following the tour, attendees concluded the event at Perle in Market Square and enjoyed appetizers and drinks while networking. A big thanks goes to Christina Bucciero and the Event Committee for another successful Property Tour as well as our sponsors and partners for the day, Green Building Alliance, Pittsburgh Regional Alliance, NAIOP Pittsburgh, Pittsburgh Downtown Partnership, and Urban Land Institute.

 

September 17, 2013
Site Tour: Plantscape

On September 17, 2013, CREW Pittsburgh visited Plantscape’s unique facility just outside downtown Pittsburgh in the upper Strip District/Lawrenceville area.  This Breakfast ‘N Learn event included a presentation by Cindy Urbach, vice-president of Plantscape, titled “Authentically Green Interiors.”  Afterwards, questions were answered by Plantscape staffers including CREW member Kathy Proudfoot, sales and design consultant, and then a facility tour was provided.

While many know some of the benefits of including plants in interior work spaces, attendees learned numerous health and well-being benefits of indoor plants.  Some of the in-depth research presented looked at just how beneficial plants can be in the workplace and discussed topics such as:

  • How plants can reduce stress and make our indoor environment more comfortable
  • How plants can improve our productivity and how they can actually help our brains to think better
  • Data on average plant costs and actual return on investment when including plants in an office environment
  • Actual projects of some of today’s most innovative designs and how they may help to earn LEED credits for green buildings
  • How an interior plant care specialist can help with design and selection

These were just some of the areas discussed in this exciting and enlightening presentation.  If you would like to learn more about many of the topics presented in this talk, there is a whitepaper available here: http://greenplantsforgreenbuildings.org/attachments/contentmanagers/25/AuthenticallyGreenInteriors.pdf
Also you can visit the Plantscape website, www.plantscape.com for more information.

Plantscape is a certified woman-owned diversified horticultural products and services company serving the tri-state area.  Since 1973 Plantscape has provided interior and exterior landscape services including irrigation and snow removal, green vertical walls and is the largest holiday decorating company in the area. The interior division is the largest in the area and ranks in the top twenty nationally.  Plantscape has received over 60 national awards for its projects.

 

August 20, 2013
Teaming to Win: High Profile Developments Require Great Teams to Succeed

On August 20, 2013, CREW Pittsburgh hosted Teaming to Win: High Profile Developments Require Great Teams to Succeed at The Rivers Club, sponsored by BreakingGround and First American Title Insurance Company.  “Teaming to Win” focused on high-profile, large real estate development projects that were anticipated to break ground in 2013.  Teaming on these types of projects introduces unique complexities that pose challenges to project success.  Over 70 professionals came to hear team leaders showcase their new real estate developments, highlight how they put together a winning team including some of our own CREW Pittsburgh members, and detail how they overcame teaming challenges.

Susheela Nemani-Stanger, Development Manager at the Urban Redevelopment Authority of Pittsburgh, spoke of the Bakery Square 2.0 development in the Pittsburgh neighborhood of East Liberty, which broke ground in February 2013. The development, to be built on the site of the former Reizenstein School, will include apartments, townhomes, and office buildings and is expected to create 2,391 full-time jobs and generate approximately $7.0 million in annual tax revenues.

CBRE Executive Vice President and Northeast Director of the Retailer Services Group Herky Pollock detailed the process of developing the Blue Spruce Shoppes in Murrysville. Located on the corner of  Route 22 (William Penn Highway) and Old William Penn Highway, this $18-million development redevelops the site of the former Blue Spruce Motel and features retail shops, restaurants, an early-childhood-education center, a bank, and a medical office.

Kaitlyn O’Toole, Office & Project Manager with The Mosites Company, took the floor to describe the process of developing the Eastside III transit-oriented development (TOD) residential/retail/transit center project in the East Liberty neighborhood. The TOD project will be adjacent to the city’s first Target department store and Eastside, a highly successful retail development connecting Shadyside and East Liberty, and contains the region’s first Whole Foods Market which is operating at three times its projection. The TOD project will contain major reconfiguration of the existing transit center which will serve as the foundation for first floor retail, a parking facility, and 300+ residential rental units.

 

Please see our newsletters for previous program and event recaps. 

 

 

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